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The Fascinating Secrets of Mayong, the Black Magic Capital of India

Ravi is a traveler and foodie who loves to visit off-the-beaten-track places and understand the culture, history and customs behind them.

Mayong village in the Assam state is called the black magic and voodoo capital of India.

Mayong village in the Assam state is called the black magic and voodoo capital of India.

Mayong Village Is Eerie

Eerie, creepy tales abound in this place—people vanishing into thin air, men turning into beasts, dolls and skeletons dripping with blood, and even wild animals being magically tamed. While there is no clear evidence of any of this, the people of Mayong claim that they have seen strange things happen beyond the realm of logical human thinking.

The biggest mystery of all happened in 1337 when an entire army of 100,000 horsemen led by Muhammad Shah to capture the Ahom kingdom of Assam perished in the forests of Mayong. No trace was found of even a single person. It was as if the army never existed.

This mysterious episode is even mentioned in the Alamgir Nama—a documentation of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb’s first 10 years in India. The Mughals were frightened by the witchcraft prevalent in the area and kept away from it.

The Black Magic Capital of India

Mayong, a small village in the Morigaon district of Assam state, is rightly called the black magic capital of India; since time immemorial, it has had a fearsome reputation as a place to be avoided.

And while it is easy to dismiss all the rumors as superstition, the fact that the name of the village has been mentioned in several ancient Hindu texts like the Ramayana and the Mahabharata means that there might be some truth to the fantastic stories after all.

With just a handful of voodoo and black magic practitioners left in the village, Mayong's frightening history may be dying, but the locals believe that black magic and sorcery are still very much alive in the dark forests surrounding the village.

Mayong's locals still believe that black magic and sorcery are alive and well in the village's surrounding forests.

Mayong's locals still believe that black magic and sorcery are alive and well in the village's surrounding forests.

The History of Mayong Village

Mayong is situated 40 km from Guwahati, in the Morigaon district of Assam. The origin of the name of the village comes from several sources. According to one belief, the name Mayong comes from ‘Ma-anga’—'ma' meaning mother and ‘anga’ meaning body-part, specifically the female organ ‘yoni’ or womb of the Hindu goddess Kamakhya.

Some people say that it is derived from the Sanskrit word 'Maya', which means ‘illusion’, while others believe that it is taken from the word 'miyong', meaning elephant in the Dimasa language.

In the historical context, based on the genealogy document existing with the present royal family of Mayong, the kingdom of Mayong was established by a Kachari king who had come from Maibong, the erstwhile capital of the Dimasa Kachari kingdom. The kingdom was established in the year 1624, and Sunyat Singha was named the first king of Mayong.

Mayong is named in several ancient Hindu texts, namely the Mahabharata, in which Bheema’s son Ghatotkacha took part in the battle of Mahabharata after attaining different magical powers from Mayong. It is even believed that renowned magician PC Sorkar had also visited Mayong to get some magic tips.

Mayong Village has a fearsome reputation of voodoo, black magic, and sorcery performed since time immemorial.

Mayong Village has a fearsome reputation of voodoo, black magic, and sorcery performed since time immemorial.

Mayong Village Has a Fearsome Reputation

The mighty Mughals also feared the witchcraft and the sorcery of this village. The first recorded evidence of the fear comes from the court historian Mirza Muhammad Kazim, who wrote the Alamgir Nama, a chronicle of the first 10 years of Emperor Aurangzeb's reign.

According to him, Aurangzeb ordered the Mughal General Raja Ram Singh to go to Assam and subdue the Ahom kingdom. Ram Singh was brave, with many victories under his belt, but somehow he was afraid of this mission.

He did not fear the Ahom army; rather he feared the voodoo and witchcraft tales that had emerged from Mayong. And despite having a superior army, Ram Singh was routed mercilessly and barely escaped with his life. As Mirza Muhammad Kazim writes:

Mughals were routed in the Battle of Saraighat in 1671 and Ram Singh beat a hasty retreat, never to return. He was lucky; a few others before him like Muhammed Shah did not even come back alive.

Interestingly, people today do not know how this witchcraft and sorcery came to this little place, how black magic became so popular, or who was the first person to practice it. But the art and craft of black magic have been passed down through generations.

The doctors practicing this craft are called bez or ojaa and they use their craft to summon up ‘ghosts’ and treat people for their illnesses, disputes, or even killing somebody by voodoo dolls.

Recent excavations have revealed that ‘narbali’, or the practice of human sacrifice, was also prevalent for a long time in this village. Humans were sacrificed to attain various powers of black magic. Archaeologists recently dug up swords and other sharp weapons that resembled tools used for human sacrifice centuries ago.

As H.N. Dutta, the director of the state archaeology department tells us:

Mayong is an interesting place for historians and archaeologists. There is a need for an in-depth study to explore its many hidden aspects. We will carry out more excavations in the coming days to find more evidence on whether human sacrifice actually took place there.

The Probitora wildlife sanctuary is home to the majestic one-horned rhinoceros, wild boars, and many other wildlife species.

The Probitora wildlife sanctuary is home to the majestic one-horned rhinoceros, wild boars, and many other wildlife species.

Today, with few practitioners of the craft and the youth turning towards the cities for better opportunities, the magic is dying. The older generation of people are still practicing the craft, but with a dwindling population, the legendary magical art of Mayong may soon pass into history.

But things are looking better now. Mayong is being advertised by the state as a tourist spot, and the number of travelers visiting this spooky village has increased substantially in the last few years.

There is also a museum in Mayong which exhibits magical remnants, weapons, old coins, scripts, jewelry made from bones and skulls, and tools used for human sacrifice, among other artifacts. Conversations with the local populace also reveal interesting stories and a lot of things to ponder, keeping you busy thinking all night.

So, if getting spooked is your cup of tea, a visit to this village might be right up your alley.

Mayong is also home to important archaeological findings excavated in and around the village. You can explore these ancient artifacts at the Mayong Central Museum.

Mayong is also home to important archaeological findings excavated in and around the village. You can explore these ancient artifacts at the Mayong Central Museum.

Things to Do in Mayong

Due to its magical and religious significance, Mayong is fast becoming an attraction for adventurous travelers wanting to go off the beaten path. There are a lot of things one can do in Mayong. Here are just a few.

  • Interact with the locals and learn about some amazing magic tricks and hear some spooky stories about witchcraft and black magic from the local practitioners residing in the village.
  • Visit the nearby Probitora wildlife sanctuary, which is also home to the majestic one-horned rhinoceros, wild boars, and many other wildlife species.
  • Visit several ancient temples in and around Mayong. Prominent ones are the Hatimuria Ganesh Temple, Kachashila Shiv Shrine, Narashinha Ashram, and Mayong’s Kechaikhaiti Shrine.
  • Mayong is also home to important archaeological findings excavated in and around the village. You can explore these ancient artifacts at the Mayong Central Museum.
  • Mayong is situated on the banks of the majestic river Brahmaputra. You can also plan for river cruises operated by the government and private operators. The scenic beauty encountered along the way is breathtaking.

Travel Details

The best time to visit Mayong is in winter from October to February, when the weather is pleasant. This is also the time when you can see the animals coming out from the nearby Probitora wildlife sanctuary. You can get more information from the Assam government website.

How to Reach Mayong

  • By Air: The nearest airport is Guwahati international airport, which is about 61 km from the village. Taxis and private vehicles are available to make the onward journey from Guwahati to Mayong.
  • By Train: You can take a train from Delhi to Guwahati, which takes about 28 hours. Once you reach Guwahati, you can take a train to Jagi road railway station, which is approximately 25 km from Mayong.
  • By Road: The road distance between Guwahati and Mayong is about 38km, and taxis and private vehicles are available for the onward journey.

Sources

© 2021 Ravi Rajan